Knicks are suing Raptors, a former employee who allegedly stole “proprietary information” before joining Toronto’s staff

The New York Knicks are suing the Toronto Raptors and members of their organization, which includes a former Knicks employee who they saw “illegally took thousands of proprietary files to his new position.”

The lawsuit also named new head coach Darko Rajaković.

“This material consists of classified, proprietary information that is critical to the Knicks' efforts to maintain a competitive advantage over their rivals, including the Raptors,” the lawsuit states.


Knicks players warming up

The New York Knicks logo is seen as players watch from the bench during the first quarter of the NBA game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena April 3, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, seeks “unspecified damages” and a ban on further disclosure of Knicks trade secrets.

New York claimed the Knicks had had “proprietary information” stolen in recent weeks, which included scouting and game frequency reports, as well as videos and scouting secrets.

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Ikechukwu Azotam is the former Knicks employee named in the lawsuit. He has worked in the organization of the Knicks since August 2021, where he managed the “planning, organization and distribution of all video scouting tasks” for the coaching team.

The Knicks accuse the Raptors of using azotame to obtain and misuse the Knicks' information. The lawsuit also alleges that he took a prep book for the 2022-2023 season for the Knicks to the Raptors.

The Raptors and their parent company, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Limited, “firmly deny any involvement in the alleged affairs,” they said in a statement.

Toronto Raptors logo on court

Toronto Raptors team logo on the floor during the Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers NBA regular season game at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto (Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“MLSE responded promptly and made clear our intention to conduct an internal investigation and to cooperate fully,” the statement said.

Azotam told the Knicks he would be joining the Raptors in late July, with his final day of play being Aug. 14. Before his departure, the Knicks allege in the lawsuit that Azotam illegally converted the team's “highly confidential” data and sent two emails from their active Knicks to his new Raptors email.

One email allegedly contained an expanded scouting report from the Indiana Pacers players, while the other email contained a similar report to the Denver Nuggets.

Knicks logo on the shorts

Pictured is a detail of the New York Knicks jersey and the New York Knicks logo during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on March 27, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Nic Antaya/Getty Images)


The lawsuit further alleges that the Raptors accessed the files more than 2,000 times.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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